How to Make Cutting Your Cat’s Nails Easy and Stress-Free

November 18, 2022

How to Make Cutting Your Cat's Nails Easy and Stress-Free

Why do cats love scratching? Cats scratch to mark their territory, stretch and bend their bodies, and wear away the dead outer layer of skin on their claws. While scratching posts are great for redirecting cats away from furniture, it’s also important to cut your cat’s nails to make sure they don’t snag on clothes and furniture, and don’t scratch you!

A cat's claws should be clipped every 10–14 days (depending on how quickly your cat’s nails grow). Becoming familiar with at-home nail cutting is therefore a must. Here are a few tips on cutting your cat's nails to make it an easy and painless experience for both you and your cat.

Implement a Nail Clipping Schedule

Most cats' claws should be clipped every week and a half to two weeks. Getting into a regular routine will help you keep your cat's nails in check. If you're having problems clipping your cat’s claws, we suggest seeking guidance from a groomer or veterinarian.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) strongly opposes cat declawing. It can result in long-term problems, suffering, and unnecessary emotional disturbances. Instead of declawing your cat, it’s best to provide scratching posts for your cats, consult with your veterinarian about nail coverings, or cut their nails more frequently.

Acquaint Your Cat with the Nail Clippers

Unfamiliar items might be frightening to your cat. Leave the clippers out in a familiar area so your cat can inspect them, but make sure to supervise your pet while this occurs so your cat doesn’t get hurt! 

Some cats are also afraid of the sound made by the nail clipper when you’re cutting your cat’s nails. A pro tip for this situation is to place a piece of dry spaghetti in the clippers while your cat is on your lap. Hold the clippers close to their paws and gently rub one paw before cutting the noodle so it produces a cracking noise. Give your cat a treat right away for accepting the noise and massage. This will create a positive association with the sound of the nail cutters for your cat.

Never Cut to the Quick

When you examine your cat's claws, you'll see a darker portion inside the usually clear, hard surface of the nail; this is known as the quick and is the location of nerves and blood vessels. If you cut too close to the quick, your cat may bleed. No one wants this! When cutting your cat’s nails, be careful not to cut too close to the quick and only on the visibly white portion of the nail.

As a preventative measure, it's a good idea to purchase a styptic powder or stick prior to clipping. If you cut their claws too deeply, you can use styptic powder to stop the nail bleeding. These products are available at most pet supply stores.

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